Will my child get confused if I speak a different language to him than other people?

That will depend on how consistent you are speaking the one language to your child. Confusion is likely to occur if people start mixing languages, for example mom or dad addresses the child in one language now and in another language the next moment. I accept that you might choose to speak one language one moment and another language the next moment for a reason, like now you are alone with your child and later someone else is with you who might not understand your language. Therefore you switch to English.

Just remember that your child will not be able to follow that logic very well, if at all. The younger they are and the less fluent they are in the minority language, the more they will be confused by your switching languages.

To avoid confusion, you have to stick to a pattern of languages being spoken at home. Agree it with your partner first, so that everybody is in it. It takes both parents’ commitment. The pattern could be, for example, mom speaks one language, dad the other. Or it could be that both parents speak the minority language at home. Whatever you decide, at the risk of repeating myself, stick to the pattern you agreed. This is the only way to get your child to connect a person to a language and to automate the process of addressing and responding to someone in a certain language. Speaking languages is much like a habit, so it needs to be set up first and then cultivated.

I realise that it might be difficult for you to switch to speaking one language to your child all the time, when you might be used to speaking English to your child most or much of the time. After all, you are probably also in a habit there. However, as you are the adult, only you can start the process. It will probably be easier if the child is younger, but I would encourage you to give it a try, even if your child is already a bit older and maybe in school. It really is worth a try, because when they grow up, they will thank you for it.

Not speaking English to your child any more might fill you with apprehension for other reasons, I’m quite aware of that. It might raise questions like: Will my child still learn English well enough? And will other people think I’m being impolite speaking a language they don’t understand? These are valid questions and I will start answering them in my next post. For now, I hope I could give you some motivation and wish you success in negotiating the language setup of your family with your partner.